Monday, April 11, 2016

Brian’s Diary April 11, 2016

Brian’s Diary

April 11, 2016

Finally, the kureiji has left.   My wife, Junko, is very happy for them to be gone and even more happy that no one is calling her “junk-oh”.   I haven’t really kept up with Michael Patterson since I moved to Japan, but every time he comes to Japan he has to visit me.  Every time he comes with his “friend” Josef Weeder.  Junko would really love for him to come with his wife sometime.  Same-sex marriage may be legal in Canada, but it is not legal in Japan and many here would not be accepting of Michael’s relationship with Weed.  It’s not just my wife.  Just like last time, they have to stay in a hotel.   My oldest Tamika is 11 years old now and I am not ready to explain why Michael is married to a woman but travels around with a man, and we do not want to explain any noises at night.

How did we find out Mike was coming?  He sent us a small bouquet of flowers, along with some refreshments and a copy of his book, Stone Season autographed to me.  There was a letter telling him how much I meant to him and how having been in Japan before, he knew a few presents would be welcome.

He was flattered and giddy with excitement when we set a time to meet.  I couldn’t believe that Mike was once someone I admired.  He eagerly shook hands with everyone, congratulated Junko for her outstanding renovation of our house, he asked me to talk to him privately.  He wanted to tell me that he knew my parents well and since my parents are good friends of his, and with that connection made, Mike invited me to answer questions about my parents and grandparents’ time in the United States.  He said he knew they had seen some truly difficult times, both privately and professionally.

My grandparents and great-grandparents were in a Japanese internment camp in Canada during World War II, and it was so odd that Michael seemed very intent on getting stories from me about their experience.  He said, “There are millions of people in Canada whose lives are steeped in Japanese culture. How do they do it, where does it come from, and how can you find more? Some people live on the periphery of being Japanese, imagining themselves able to perform that most perilous craft. I am one of those people. I will never take for granted the honour and the joy it was to have been part of your parents’ circle of friends.  I mean something to them. You can’t get much closer to heaven than that!”

It was so weird, I had to go to the internet to look up Michael Patterson.  He just settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit from his Stone Seasonbook because he took stories from his old university landlord about being a World War II war bride and did not credit or compensate her.  Then I called mom and dad.  They were shocked Michael was here.  They said he had some sort of deadline for a new book and he was trying to steal material in order to make the deadline.  They turned him down because they didn’t want our family paraded on the best-seller list. 

The next day I told him I knew what he was trying to do.  He said he had a deadline for a new book and he hadn’t even really started it yet.  I asked when he got the contract for the book.  He said about a year ago.  I said too bad they didn’t give you more time in my most sarcastic voice, but I was not going to tell him any more stories about my grandparents.  Then he started complaining how it wasn’t his fault.  My parents wouldn’t talk to him and his wife didn’t buy him paper and his kids kept using his pens.  Then he started talking about how important it was to have to adhere to a time limit and that he would never have been able to do the book, if he hadn’t learned some discipline back when we were in school together. 
I had forgotten what Michael Patterson was like.  He is the worst procrastinator I know.  He was that way in school in Milborough and he’s the same now.  He got a book contract when he had no experience writing books and then it turns out the book he did was copied.   He actually thinks it’s all right to copy other people’s work and sell it as his own.   He’s willing to travel all the way to Japan to get stories from me, but he’s not willing to sit down and do the work himself.   Eventually I had to ask him and Josef Weeder to leave.   It was such a relief when he left.

Junko suggested that we put up his autographed book for auction.  I thought that idea was very funny.  I wonder if anyone will want it?

Brian Enjo


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